Poison in his Veins

Living in L.A. in the mid-nineties, I was blessed to be able to see a good number of indies and foreign films that received little to no play outside tinseltown.  Reflecting back, I am surprised that such a high percentage of the films I saw were so good.  One little British film is a prime example: The Young Poisoner’s Handbook (1995).  Based on a true case, this is a delicious tale of smart young man who was one by one able to eliminate those who stood in his way.  With dark comic elements and expertly crafted high drama, I think of this movie as an English counterpart to Michael Caine’s A Shock To The System.

Young Poisoner's Handbook

Roger Ebert gave this film 3 1/2 of 4 stars:

“The Young Poisoner’s Handbook” is both funny and creepy, like an accident that is tragic and absurd at the same time (I am reminded of the famous Second City sketch in which mourners at a funeral discover that their friend drowned in a large can of pork and beans).

And Janet Maslin for the Times wrote:

“It seemed he’d finally reached the end of his tether,” Young observes at another point, about someone who hangs himself.

“The Young Poisoner’s Handbook” is sure to offend anyone who finds that an unreasonably cruel locution. Its assured style, malevolent wit and uncompromising intelligence should fascinate anyone else.

This movie is highly entertaining, and highly recommended.  Unfortunately, it is only available via DVD rental or purchase.

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